BellSouth recently announced, with considerable fanfare and not a little misdirection (on that score more later) a upgrade to its DSL system that is will provide for 4-6 megs of download speed. Om Malik does the nicest job of distilling the furor to its essentials in a post on his blog.
That sounds like good news—and there are good aspects of it for those select neighborhoods in the top 30 markets that get access. But the first question for Lafayette residents is whether it is something that we will even see in our town and the initial reports do not carry information on just which 30 markets BellSouth considers its top markets for this purpose.
The internet rides to the rescue! Or at least Google does. A search finds an article, BellSouth FastAccess Internet Service Deployed in 30 Target Markets, that details what BellSouth historically considered its top 30 markets—and Lafayette is included. As are New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Louisiana. The interesting part is included here:
“BellSouth began deploying DSL service in seven initial markets in September 1998, and added 23 markets in 1999 to bring service to a total of 30 Southeastern markets. BellSouth FastAccess Internet service is presently available in some areas in the following Southeastern markets:
Baton Rouge, LA
Boca Raton, FL
Daytona Beach, FL
New Orleans, LA
Fort Lauderdale, FL
West Palm Beach, FL
So probably Cox will see some competition from BellSouth on speed in the coming year which has to be a good thing for local customers for whom it is available. At 4-6 megs, however, BellSouth will not be in a position to advertise more speed than Cox and will have to continue to compete on price to woo customers from the cable company. Video services, a big part of the hoopla surrounding the upgrade will have to wait until considerably faster services are made available.
But what might well be most interesting for Lafayette folks will be to see if Lafayette is actually included in the list of 30—not including her will be a strong, early indication that BellSouth has decided not to try and compete in Lafayette. My guess is that we’ll see the speed.